The Real Secret to Better Wood Finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Having been self employed and as self sufficient as possible for the last 35+ years, one thing has remained true throughout my working life. I have kept learning and expanding my knowledge base, and continue to do the same, especially since I started my own furniture restoration business 26 years ago.

When I first jumped into the furniture repair and restoration business with both feet, I had a basic understanding of finishing, restoration and the repairs involved when working on older pieces. However, it didn't take long for me to realize I still had a lot to learn about all phases of the business, and I'm still learning new things pretty much every day. Needless to say with all the new environmental laws in place, furniture coatings manufacturers have had to jump through many hoops to try to come up with ways to provide a viable product that both meets the needs of industry and also protects the environment.

As for me, having to keep up with the latest technology has made me a better wood finisher and also a better instructor for Highland Woodworking. Knowing "what's in the can" has enabled me to come up with a much better way to convey my artistry, insights and techniques, both by describing the technical information involved, and by physically demonstrating the processes.

In my classes I strive for clarity, and do my best to explain the techniques in a way that everyone can relate to and understand. The goal is to learn how to create the look and feel of a wood finish that best represents what we as artists and craftsmen are seeking to express in our work.

Nothing is more frustrating than to spend countless hours building something with our own hands only to feel helpless when it comes to adding that final touch, the magic color or finish that we see in our mind's eye that will make it complete. Or, to put it another way, building a Rolls Royce and having to paint it with a brush.

It is in this spirit that I encourage all of you to take the time to learn as much as you can about the coloring options and finishes that are available to you. True, at first the task is very confusing to say the least, but with a little study and a few classes, the picture becomes clear for both you and for others to enjoy.

The secret to the art of good wood finishing is to continually expand your knowledge. A little knowledge is a powerful thing indeed!


Want to become a better wood finisher? Enroll now in one of Alan's upcoming Highland Woodworking classes:

French Polish Workshop , January 28, 2009
Gilding and Gold Leafing , February 25, 2009
Furniture Repair , March 14, 2009
Quick Wood Finishes , March 25, 2009

Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at .

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